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Albums that shaped Alt Dialogue #3: Smash by The Offspring

Check out the preamble and list so far here.

It’s been a while since we did our last album that shaped Alt Dialogue, but fear not we’re back with a pretty important one. Let us serve up Smash by The Offspring.

Released on April 8, 1994 on Epitaph Records, Smash has sold over six million copies in America and has been certified 6× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Peaking at number four on the US Billboard 200, it has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling independent label album of all time. It was also the first album released on Epitaph Records to obtain gold and platinum status. In pop punk terms it’s a seminal album, along with Dookie by Green Day it bought pop punk to the mainstream and has provided a pop punk template for the genre going forward.

In 2018 it is hard to imagine how popular The Offspring were due to the success of Smash. Take a look at this video of the band at Glastonbury in 1995, can you imagine a band of their ilk drawing a crowd that size these days?

It’s a record that is massively important to Alt Dialogue as it opened a door to immediate catchy rock music. Personally, I hadn’t experienced something that could be as instantaneous, and hook filled whilst being filled to the brim with big riffs and full paced drumming. The moment I first heard ‘Self Esteem’ still lives with me as vividly as it was 20 plus years ago. Sitting halfway through a mix tape I borrowed from a friend, sandwiched between ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica and ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden came this angsty song with self-depreciating hate and a killer bassline. I was in love, it was the perfect track for the disillusioned teenager. It was played on repeat. Admittedly I’ll listen to the track rarely these days but when I do I still get a shiver down the spine when that first riff kicks in and the bassline comes to the fore. Impossible not to turn it up and sing along.

On that mix tape ‘Come Out and Play’ was the final track and I knew I had to get the album. I’m not sure if this was something unique to me, but I always borrowed albums from public libraries and taped them. I loved it, look for albums in record shops then borrow it from the library and (more often than not) fail and make a request that the library order it in. Smash was one of the first albums I did this with, the tape was listened to so much it had to be borrowed again and re-taped.

While ‘Come Out and Play’ and ‘Self Esteem’ are the big popular singles you can’t help but fall in love with the riotous and direct punk of ‘Killboy Powerhead’, ‘Genocide’, ‘Smash’ and ‘Not The One’. Then there’s the groove of ‘What Happened To You?’ and the aggression of ‘Bad Habit’. What an album.

 

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  1. Albums that Shaped Alt Dialogue – the preamble – Alt Dialogue

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